In 1991 the Soviet Union ceased as a legal entity. The fall of the communist regime was followed by a number of conflicts between the national states of the ex-Soviet Union and their sub-national territories, namely clearly defined territories which are generally populated by ethnic groups which constitute a minority within a national state. Conflicts between national states and their sub-national territories arose in most cases as a result of the latter’s irredentist claims. In some cases, such conflicts assumed violent forms, such as that in Chechnia: in others, such as Crimea, they have not become violent. What is puzzling, however, is that the political, economic, and ethnic factors in Crimea were not very different from those in Chechnia. The populations of both sub-national territories differed ethnically from the majority in the national state; separatist movements were well-organized and active; and both territories shared a communist past. Yet Ukraine, unlike Russia, has managed the Crimean separatist movement nonviolently. The questions, then, are what factors contributed to the nonviolent solution in Crimea and what made it impossible, by contrast, for the Russian government to escape a military confrontation in Chechnia?